It’s time to contribute my little share to all the websites out there telling you how to learn Japanese, which textbooks to buy, and which resources to use. I’m just a beginner myself but tried a lot of stuff, gave up twice, and then started again with a different approach. So this is my little guide to self-studying Japanese.
There are a couple of things I want to make clear from the beginning which really got on my nerves reading different blogs trying to teach you how to learn Japanese – There are multiple ways to achieve your goal – There are many different sources that offer great ways to learn Japanese – If you like something, stick with it – I’m nowhere near the point where I would say that the stuff I’m doing and using for my Japanese studies is the perfect way to go. But it’s the right stuff for me and maybe for you too. Just some friendly tips from one Nerd to another which may save you a lot of time and money!
If you buy the books through my links, I’ll get a small referral fee which will be used to buy even more awesome books for review.
My 6 steps of self-studying Japanese
In the beginning, it’s always comfortable when you have a list you can go through. A numerical one at best with all the steps you should take in an orderly fashion. The tips in this post aren’t random but for a beginner, it may be a little confusing with what to start nonetheless. That’s why I decided to break my Japanese learning process down. Let’s begin:
Table of Contents
1. Learn Hiragana and Katakana
The two Japanese syllabaries are essential for every book and tool in this list. Hiragana is used for everything that’s not written in Kanji (the complex Chinese characters), Katakana, on the other hand, is used for “imported” English words or when Japanese want to stylize a word. I found the Dr. Moku Apps are absolutely great for this purpose. It’s available for iOS, Android, and your Desktop so there should be a way for everyone to learn from the Doctor. If you prefer a physical version you should check out these here
2. Get my favorite textbook: Genki
(A third edition has been released with minor additions/corrections which shall make Genki more modern but the core content is the same.)
An awesome textbook that teaches you the basics of Japanese grammar in two volumes and 25 lessons.
Everything is very well explained with lots of example sentences, recurring characters who take part in various short stories, and the exact right amount of vocabulary for each section. The MP3 CD contains the text and vocabulary read out loud which is crucial to work on your listening comprehension at an early stage. It won’t get easier when you wait with this step, trust me. There is also a corresponding workbook available but there is more than enough stuff to practice within the main book itself.
Still, I got both workbooks and went through them as well. Each one is accompanied by an MP3 Cd (in the same manner as the main textbook) which contains all the text and dialogue spoken by a native speaker. If you got both down and the main books, basic Japanese grammar shouldn’t be a hurdle for you anymore. To sum it up, you don’t need the workbooks but some extra practice never hurts, right? Your call.
There is also a pretty neat iOS App available that lets you train conjugations. Trust me on this one – just get it while studying the mighty Genki textbooks.
I also wrote a whole post about how I used the Genki textbooks myself and how I would start going through them again. I like the iOS Apps but there is also a website called Genki Exercises that digitalized the workbook and practiced parts of the textbook for text input.
Forget Minna no Nihongo and all the other books which are just crappy for self-learners. Genki is the real deal. Don’t forget to buy the answer key which contains every answer for both work- and textbook for Genki I & II in one single volume.
Buy the book: Genki I & Genki II // Answer Key (crucial!)// Workbook I & Workbook II
WRJ has it also in store. If you include the shipping costs from Japan, it’s not such a bad deal even if it’s more expensive. And I got the feeling you might want to get the textbooks as fast as possible.
3. Get this Dictionary for Japanese Grammar
There will come the situation when you’re reading something and can’t make sense of a grammatical term.
You’re trying to look it up in Genki but with no success. Tae Kim can’t give you a solid explanation either. But fear not, there is a great tool to help you in these moments.
The dictionaries of Japanese grammar are the standard for decades and that’s for a reason. You don’t need a lot of books to study Japanese and there are tons of fantastic online resources but you should at least on this one here (and Genki I + II).
It’s a series of three books published by the Japan Times (like Genki) with a beautiful layout and really well-written explanations with lots of example sentences. There is a reason why these three books are used by Japanese teaching universities all around the globe.
I’ve already written a more in-depth post about the first dictionary of basic Japanese grammar with a couple of pictures. Just have a look and decide for yourself if you could need one of these. For me, it’s the best thing that happened to me after Genki and a steady partner on my night table.
- Buy A Dictionary of basic Japanese grammar from CDjapan
4. Give your listening comprehension a boost with Japanesepod101
When I signed up for TextFugu (a now-defunct beginner online textbook by the Tofugu Team) a long while back I also got a coupon for Japanesepod101. Heard a lot about the program before but never really considered subscribing because the whole site looked a bit “sketchy” to me. They just tried a little too hard to sell their stuff. But I thought to myself “if the tofugu team recommends something, it has to be good”. And it was the right decision.
Before Japanesepod I even struggled with the most basic sentences in Japanese. My listening comprehension was really crap. But thanks to this little podcast it got a lot better. It’s even incredibly useful to learn some grammar along the way with example sentences and explanations right away (but of course, this can’t replace a textbook).
Every episode has a little story upfront which contains a specific grammar point. After that, a native speaker and the host Peter Gallante are talking about the story, make some jokes, explain and just have a very well-thought-out discussion. Honestly, I’m always amazed at how they make their episodes so poignant and casual at the same time. Kudos.
I really love listening to Podcasts on the go and if you do so as well you may know the feeling you get over time. Like you really know these people who you’re listening to regularly. Just like a bunch of old friends, you like to hang out with and chat with. I get that feeling when listening to Japanesepod as well which should tell you how much I enjoy the cast.
When I first started with Japanese I completely neglected any listening comprehension. It was a big mistake. You’ll never be able to really understand a language if you’re not used to the “flow”, the rhythm of that language. At least it was an immense game-changer for me.
Just head to their website and give it a try or read my more in-depth review of Japanesepod101 if you want to learn more about their service first.
Japanesepod is sending me some coupons from time to time and I thought it would be a good idea to update the post with the new ones.
Coupon Codes (links attached)
28% OFF BASIC, PREMIUM & PREMIUM PLUS
- Subscribe here (coupon code already applied!)
My recommended study routine
- After learning Hiragana & Katakana (with the Dr. Moku Apps) start with Genki I.
I don’t think it’s the best idea to write your own flashcards for vocab in the beginning so I would opt for a different route right away: JALUP or iKnow. You train your reading ability and learn Japanese words in context, audio included. There is no better way (at least for me).
- Start with Genki I and use the Apps alongside the textbook to study the vocab
- Join WaniKani when you feel ready (time-wise) and start slow. Don’t overdo things and risk burning yourself out (this happened to me so many times). Get a feel for how Kanji are structured and work. Do the first 10 levels.
- Go through the first 2k words of Nihongo Lessons aka Beginner + Intermediate. Alternatively use iKnow and do the first 2k words. Both are great programs but I prefer Nihongo levels (which is using the JALUP content and the way the App works) because of the card linking and integration of the Nihongo dictionary App. But: iOS only.
- Join Japanesepod101 and start with Newbie Season 1. Use it alongside Genki but don’t try to find the same grammar points in both the podcast and the book. Just let it flow and learn from both. The beauty of this method is that you’ll eventually encounter already-learned grammar points again, get a second explanation, and make them really stick.
I had to decide between three time-consuming SRS programs. Wanikani (just look below for a detailed explanation), iKnow, and Nihongo levels (formerly JALUP). The latter two are great for vocab (and Nihongo levels is including some grammar as well but don’t replace a textbook) but not essential in the beginning.
You don’t need to pull through all 60 levels of WK before starting with iKnow or JALUP but at least try to get down the first 10. That way you get a feeling for Kanji, you will already know the basics and all this will make it much easier to learn vocab with iKnow and Nihongo Lessons.
5. Start learning Kanji and tons of vocab with WaniKani
I’ve already written a post about getting back to learning Japanese with WaniKani but it just had to be included here. I always wanted to write a blog where articles that matter were updated when the time was right and that’s exactly what I’m doing now. WaniKani is great. Even if you’re just making your first steps in trying to learn Japanese, learn hiragana & katakana and make yourself a WaniKani account.
It starts from scratch and is a great alternative to Heisig. It’s actually the one I prefer nowadays. JT reader NinKenDo pointed out that he is actually using WaniKani in conjunction with Heisig. So that’s also an alternative. If you want to know more about WaniKani and its immense benefits, just read the above-linked post to the original article.
But in short: You’ll learn the Kanji, learn tons of vocabulary, and meet great people in the community. The best thing I did for my Japanese studies was to sign up with WK. Hands down.
To make studying with WaniKani even more easy I compiled a list of the extensions I use with the site to make things a little faster and more efficient. Safari is normally my go-to browser but specifically for WK, I switch to Chrome just for the sake of using all these little helpers.
Heisig: Remembering the Kanji – Before WaniKani came around this was the ultimate way to learn the Kanji. The key was to break down the Chinese characters into small parts called primitives. Out of these, you make up a story that will help you memorize the meaning of each Kanji. If you got a meaning down for each Kanji you can advance to learning the different meanings.
6. Get a Japanese dictionary for your mobile phone and tablet
In late 2020 I discovered a fantastic Japanese dictionary App with the striking name: Nihongo. It’s super-fast, has tons of example sentences (a lot even with Audio), and here comes the best: An implemented OCR function that lets you scan pictures for Japanese words which you can then just tap and make flashcards out of them.
Only downside: It’s iOS only.
With the original picture attached if you want. That’s actually so awesome and revolutionary for my studying process that I’m only using Nihongo right now and I love it. Check out my full review to see some pictures and hear more about this great App. really I can’t recommend this one enough.
Defunct. These were the dictionary Apps I was using the years before. Both are very decent dictionary Apps but Nihongo blows them out of the water with its OCR feature, instant search, and ability to add pictures to dictionary entries.
No matter if you’re using Android or iOS there are many different Japanese dictionary Apps available and they are more or less all offering the same. At least they’re all referring to the same database of words. So, in the end, it’s a matter of preference which one you like to use. Or rather a matter of style. I tried out a couple of different ones but stuck with Midori and am using it now for a couple of years. I really like that the App is already searching for the word while I’m typing.
Makes finding words where you only know the Kanji and you’re not quite sure about the exact reading a lot easier. There are a lot more bells and whistles to this app but I’m using none of them. Built-in list to which you can add your words, Kanji, and vocab after JLPT, and so on. In this regard, all the dictionary Apps are more or less the same, and in the end (again) it just comes down to which interface you like best.
Imiwa has been mentioned in the comments and I tried it myself. Nothing wrong with this App either. There is even the functionality to change the language to German or French or Spanish. But not all Japanese words included in the dictionary are available in all translations and some may still be shown with an English translation. It’s free and a great alternative to Midori (which costs a hefty 10$). Download it and try it for yourself.
So you want to read manga in Japanese? Get this book.
Not really a necessity but – If you like to read manga in Japanese or want to get to that level where you can enjoy your favorite series in Japanese – buy this book. Seriously it’s amazing. Don’t confuse it with Japanese in Mangaland.
This one here teaches real written Japanese using different scenes from popular manga as examples. A little like the column which once ran in the now-defunct Mangajin magazine if some of you remember. You’ll learn a lot of useful grammatical stuff you really don’t get taught in regular textbooks. If you want to read manga – try this book here. It helped me immensely in understanding some of the more obscure sentence enders and terms.
If you work through this book I guarantee you that you’ll at least have the grammatical foundation to comfortably read manga in Japanese. Yes, it’s that awesome. Japanese Tease reader Chris recommended it to me on Twitter a while ago and I’m really glad he did.
Worked my way through the book and reading Japanese got a lot easier for me afterward. All these strange sentence enders and variations I couldn’t place anywhere were described in this book. Or at least a good part of ’em. Even when watching Anime to learn Japanese you’ll notice that this book here is essential. The slang remains the same no matter if you watch the shows or read the manga.
When someone asked me how he should start to learn Japanese as a self-learner these were the tips I would give him. But there is a lot of other stuff out there which is great as well. Let’s start with the classics. The infamous online Japanese textbook.
Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide
If you want another shot at Japanese grammar or want to read more about a certain topic Tae Kim’s grammar guide is my go-to place. It’s free, it’s awesome and very well explained. Good stuff for beginners who like a more casual and natural approach towards grammar and always a great complement to Genki.
Some are even using solely Tae Kim for their grammar needs but I wouldn’t recommend that. Not because his site isn’t great (it is) I just think that it’s a little confusing at the beginning and a little vague with his explanations sometimes as well.
If you already have a foundation in Japanese you’ll greatly profit from the many example sentences and small grammatical nuances Tae Kim explains so well. If you don’t have a certain background you’ll probably feel the same I felt back then. Not being able to see the forest between all the trees.
There is also a free IOS Version of the guide which is really well made – and free. A no-brainer if you have a fitting device. I actually bought the printed version as well but I am not that keen on it. Maybe because the App is just too good to be true. And free, did I mention that?
Learning Japanese is a journey that never seems to end. At least for me, it doesn’t. Luckily there is a vast market of neat books and programs out there which make studying the language a joy to do so. I’ve written some articles about nearly all the books I’ve used up to now and always aim to give you a personal feel for the books with the pictures I’m taking.
I hope that works. Some stuff that I love to recommend to nearly all stages of learners are the Japanese Graded Readers books. Available from super easy to intermediate. They come in attractive little boxes, each story in a separate booklet, but have a look at yourself.
Japanese Graded Readers – When a native material is still far too difficult and frustrating these are an excellent way to start finally putting your newly learned Japanese to some use. You can choose a set from grades 0 to 3 with rising difficulty in grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. Each story gets is printed in a different booklet and the accompanying MP3 Cd has every little story read by a native.
Read manga in Japanese – I made a total of five posts with manga recommendations for Japanese beginners. You should always keep in mind though that every one of these manga is aimed at a native Japanese audience and thus it can be quite a harsh entry if it’s really the first thing you read in Japanese. But it’ll get better over time (like always) and the above-mentioned book Japanese the manga way will help you out a great deal.
Nihongo Notes – When learning and trying to understand and speak Japanese you’ll always face the difficulty that you just express yourself a lot differently in Japanese than you would do in a European language. Nihongo Notes is collecting all the essays from the column with the same name which runs in the newspaper The Japan Times.
In fun little stories covering everyday situations in Japan, you’ll learn a lot about how to use different phrases correctly and more importantly about their heritage and true meaning. If you want to slip inside a Japanese and make sense of all the seemingly random dos and don’ts in Japan these two books are your best bet. – Read the full review.
Habitica – If you want to tackle your daily tasks and to-do lists like they were missions in an RPG this is the website for you. You earn some in-game money and experience points for every task you finished which will level up your character and even allows you to be some neat gear. Join the Japanese Tease guild and let’s tackle some monsters together by learning more Japanese. Switched to Things 3 lately. Just have a look at the separate post I made.
Moleskine Notebook – Tracking your learning progress is essential to keep you on plan and motivated as well. A technique that works very well for me is just to write down a few keywords that I learned each day. Or if I have to work through a big bunch of pages in a textbook I’ll write down where I started and finished that day. I personally love the little Moleskine weekly planners, but of course, even the note function or calendar on your mobile is up for this task.
Defunct. All the stuff I don’t use anymore
The section for all the stuff I don’t use anymore but once have. I loved these tools at one point but don’t use them in my current state anymore.
If you don’t know about Anki yet here is a short description of the best program/app I own. Or at least the most useful to me. It’s a program to make digital flashcards but instead of just having two sides you can do the wildest things with Anki. The Ultimate Japanese Vocab Packs by Tofugu support Anki as well and are really well made. With sound files and different forms. Just download Anki and get these Vocab packs. There is no better introduction to Anki out there.
A nice feature of Anki is that you can download ao called “decks” by other people directly within the program. So if you decide to tackle the Heisig method for learning all the Joyu Kanji, just search for a deck. Maybe someone else was kind enough to upload his own Anki deck which can save you a lot of time. And the good part is: You always have the opportunity to customize these decks. Well done Anki!
Make your own vocabulary-decks
When you finished the essential packs you will have some basic Japanese vocabulary knowledge which will come in quite handy reading stuff like Yotsubato! and Shirokuma Café. But because Japanese is damn complex you need to learn more vocab and I mean: Lots more.
I just expanded the Tofugu decks and made additions to them whenever I stumbled across an unknown word. I would advise you to do the same because the tofugu vocab “template” is really well made with the ability to learn the different forms and kanji reading in a breeze. Little tip: Add a field for the te-form within the Verbs template, which will make things much easier for you in the long run.
Where do I pick up my vocab?
When reading a manga I try to put all unknown words into Anki. Sometimes I skip a few. There is really no need to learn ancient Japanese words when you’re still trying to figure out the basics. You can rather spend the time on the more useful stuff first which you will actually use and come back for fancy vocab a couple of months (or years) later when you have a decent knowledge of Japanese.
Of course, there are some places with more useful vocab to pick up than others. Manga may not be such a great choice all in all because of all the slang and sometimes fantasy language (always depending on what you read of course). But Yotsuba with its everyday anecdotes really is a good way to start. I compiled a list of beginner-friendly manga in Japanese which should give you plenty of suggestions.
Tolle Seite! Besonders fuer die Leseempfehlungen bin ich dankbar.
Momentan lerne ich mit TextFugu, aber an sich haette ich schon ganz gern ein “richtiges” Buch. Was mich an der Genki-Reihe abschreckt, ist der Preis. Unter 55€ hab ich noch nichts finden koennen. Gibt’s irgendwelche Geheimtips, wo man die Buecher guenstiger kriegen kann oder muss ich einfach in den sauren Apfel beissen, falls ich mir sie wirklich zulegen will?
Erstmal Danke für dein nettes Lob :) Von TextFugu bin ich leider nur mässig begeistert gewesen. Im Ansatz alles ganz nett, vor allem auch der Gedanke gleich vorweg grossen Wert auf Motivation zu legen, aber inhaltlich war mir das alles viel zu breit ausgetreten. da ist Genki wirklich ganz hervorragend :)
Wenn du die Bücher direkt über honto.jp bestellst kommst du ja auch erheblich billiger weg. Für beide Bücher inkl. Porto macht das dann vielleicht 70-75€. Klingt gleich etwas happig, ist es aber definitiv wert.
Guck mal hier, da findest du alle infos, wie man ganz einfach so ziemlich alle Japanischen Bücher direkt bestellen kann:
Bisher mag ich TextFugu ganz gern, weil’s wirklich simpel erklärt wird und ich für mein Anki-Deck direkt gesprochene Beispiele dazu kriege, das find ich echt praktisch zum Sprechen-Üben. Das Vokabular überschneidet sich auch immer mit WaniKani, was das Vokabeln-Pauken bei beiden spaßiger macht. Aber wirklich langsam.
So ein richtiges Buch aus Papier zum Reinkritzeln und Rumtragen ist halt schon was anderes. Ich schätze mal, ich werde mir dann also Genki I&II zulegen und bei WaniKani (+ Anki für zusätzliches Vokabular) bleiben.
75€ für Schulbücher inkl. Versandkosten sind voll okay! Wenn ich dran denke, was ich in Australien allein für mein Mathebuch zahlen musste… Danke für den Link auch, für den Post hab ich mir schon ein Lesezeichen angelegt :-)
Nur ganz flott noch: welche dieser Bücher sind es denn?
Bei den verschiedenen Ausgaben und Workbooks steig ich nicht so ganz durch auf Japanisch, haha.
Die beiden unteren Links führen zu den richtigen Ausgaben. Das ist dann die 2. Auflage inklusive MP3CDs. Falls du die passenden workbooks haben möchtest, wären das diese hier ( kommen übrigens auch mit CDs):
Un hier noch ganz wichtig, was du auf jeden fall brauchst: Das Lösungsbuch. Da gibts nur eines, das auch die ganzen Lösungen für die workbooks beinhaltet.
Helpful as always. Actually I was wondering if I needed Minna no nihongo or not. I have Genki 1 but heard good things about Minna and couldn’t afford both of them! But now I know that I will just need Genki 2.
No problem. Always happy if my posts can help people out. I didn’t like Minna no Nihongo at all and there is definitely no need for it if you already started with Genki. Genki & Tae Kim are a great combination.
I know I am late to the party but I really like the list of resources and wanted to thank you for the post. I also would like to recommend that you take a look at imiwa? (formerly kotoba) since you appear to be an iOS user. Thanks again and good luck!
Never to late for a good party :) Thanks a lot for your comment Matthew and if you have any more tips please share them. Always more then welcome. I have imiwa on my phone as well but found midori much more comfortable to use. If I understand tis correctly all these Japanese dictionary apps use the same material so it’s just the interface that I like a bit better.
But I’ll include because it’s free and basically got the same value as midori. Thanks Matthew for reminding me of this!
I have started to learn Japanese for only a couple of months now, but I like it a lot :)
I am using WaniKani for vocab, and a French “textbook” called Assimil (I am French… ^^ ), with audio files, for the grammar. I was recently introduced to the Human Japanese apps, and I like them a lot (beginner and intermediate levels), but I wanted to know how good they are. Do you know them? What do you think of them?
Thank you for your answer!
Hey Alba, great that you’re studying Japanese 頑張ってね. Unfortunately I haven’t tried any of the Human Japanese Apps before. Haven’t even heard of them. But just had a look at the free lite version and it looks very promising. Please let me know your thoughts about it when you should try it out. Sorry that I can’t be of any more help.
Thank you very much for your answer! :)
I have tried it (still working through the chapterse), and I like it very much! I think it’s beautifully laid out, and the lessons are both easy to follow and very rich in what seems to me to be high quality content.
In the end, I would highly recommend it, especially for beginners who are serious about wanting to speak Japanese!
Cheers from France!
I just found this website and I’m already in love with it, keep the good work and god bliss
Thanks a lot for these nice words. These are the comments that keep me going :) Are you learning Japanese as well?
Yeah this guide is very useful, but its hard to find time to study japanese in university.
Hi! Thanks for this post! I was really having a hard time choosing between Genki and Minna No Nihongo. I actually preferred MNN at first, but I’m going to order Genki after reading this (and going through some forums :P) MNN’s requires a lot of books before you can actually use them and that would be too expensive. I’m also self-studying so..yeah. :)) I actually wanted to learn Japanese because of my love for anime and manga so I’m also going to consider getting Japanese the Manga Way. :D Keep up the good work! :)
Genki is awesome, you can’t do wrong with this one. And you’re so right that Minna no nihongo takes too much for granted. Maybe you’ve seen my review about it. Don’t really like the book even if it may work in a classroom setting. Thanks a lot for your kind words. Really glad that you found this list helpful. Regarding your love for manga and anime? Have you already started to read some stuff in Japanese?
No prob, I enjoy reading your posts! I’ve already tried reading manga and visited some Japanese sites. So far, I can read Hiragana and Katakana but can only understand certain words and phrases. With Kanji, not much. Just memorized some common ones looong ago but totally forgot them:( And I don’t know much about grammar yet so it’s still a long way to go! :D
Just stay strong and hang in. You’ll quickly learn more and there is nothing better then coming back to a manga you didn’t understand a single line in and completely rock at it.
Just discovered your blog, very nice! I’ve been studying Japanese for just over a year, and took the JLPT N5 last Sunday and was very happy with it. Initially I started with night classes here in Ireland which ran for 8 months and covered Genki 1. During that time I became obsessed with Heisig’s RTK and worked through the majority of that over 2-3 months, and later finished it in Japan. I can understand that RTK isn’t for everybody but I loved it.
I spent five weeks in the summer doing a homestay in Kyoto and studying at a language school there. We used Minna no Nihongo for grammar and Kanji Master for kanji (I had used Basic Kanji with my classes in Ireland). Again, I loved both books. Minna no Nihongo is a good companion to Genki I think. If nothing else – Minna no Nihongo is excellent reading practise because there is no English (if you don’t have the translation notes). Another benefit is that Minna no Nihongo has an intermediate series after you complete books 1 & 2.
Right now I have one-on-one weekly lessons with a Japanese man who lives locally, although they have just finished until the new year. I’m using Genki 2 for grammar, and Kanji Master N4 for kanji. I have just started a couple of children’s books that I am using as reading practise and have created anki decks for them both. Ideally I would like to finish both Genki 2 and KM N4 by next summer, and then work through Minna no Nihongo 2 and my other kanji books for supplemental learning/revision (Basic Kanji, Kanji in Context…the parts that are relevant for N4). Hopefully I will be well prepared to sit the N4 next December.
I’d like to apply to the JET programme at the end of next year (to go to Japan in 2016) so I’ll also be thinking about that over the next twelve months…
Sorry for the late reply, but I totally forgot about it. Congrats for mastering JLPT5 and thanks a lot for the kind words. I just discovered another neat tool for learning Japanese: KanjiBox. Messed around with it for the last couple of days and really like it. Not to mention that it’s dirt cheap for all the goodness you get.
I’m sure it’ll help you out a great deal when studying for JLPt especially because all the content is sorted that way. Let me know how things turn out for you.
Thanks for sharing! I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog! It’s like a breath of fresh realistic air. When I was reading other blogs I too was also getting very annoyed by the fact that they all thought that they knew the “best” and most “perfect” methods that one simply must follow in order to be successful in Japanese. As a total beginner I felt used and misled. They recommended very specific products and continued to preach about them continuously like the bible! These products were the only “real” way to learn Japanese and become fluent. In fact, one of the most prominent of these blogs urged forcefully to “just ignore the negative reviews” and immediately purchase one of the expensive products! Unbelievable! I’m not looking for a success recipe! I’m not looking for a quick fix! I don’t want you to tell me how I should, shouldn’t, and must learn Japanese! I just want to hear your ideas! I want to hear your suggestions and I want to hear your observations stated as such. I want to expand my worldview by reading your writing instead of having you attempt to narrow it! I want to make up my mind in the end instead of you try to make it up for me. I don’t want you to flaunt and micro-manage every aspect of my language learning process with your own opinions! You sir, are an exception among the crowd! I can’t wait to continue to learn Japanese! Your blog has helped to fuel my motivation to do such! Other websites and (know it all) blogs tend to bring me down about learning the language which I am naturally so motivated and interested to learn. But, at the end of the day after spending time on some of these websites I end up feeling discouraged, criticized, inferior, and ignored. And, then learning no longer becomes the exciting and fun work hard adventure it once was. It starts to feel like dull drudgery and work. Recently, I deleted a bunch of these sites from my bookmarks and I was going to delete all of the english Japanese advice blogs of which I thought all of them were too heavily opinionated but your blog will remain. You share your opinions as any good writer does but you also are able to look at things in a more objective light but most importantly you are respectful and keep the reader in mind! Thank you. I greatly appreciate it! Keep up the good work! I hope you are satisfied and continue to find plenty of fulfillment with the Japanese language and the unique culture it is fused with!
Wow. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a long comment. And a very nice one that is. Thank you. I definitely wouldn’t spend so much time working on the website if the Japanese learning community wasn’t such a nice one. Didn’t make one single negative experience with Japanese Tease in now pretty much two years.
Have you checked my latest article about iknow? Love that little website and it’s probably a gift for every beginner who starts with it. Have fun with your Japanese studies and please let me know how things are going for you.
And thanks again for all the praise kind words. Really means a lot.
I will definitely check iknow and your latest article out! As an update I am purchasing the Genki 1 textbook, Genki answer key, A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, and Japanese the Manga Way! Your blog has really and truly helped to encourage me! I can’t wait to gain enough skill to be able to form simple sentences and comprehend basic material in Japanese! There is so much content out there! I’m just so excited to be apart of it! Recently, I’ve been watching my favorite anime on Netflix solely in Japanese just to start to get a feel for the sounds of the language! It’s really helped spark my appreciation and curiosity! To think that one day I might comprehend the meaning and subtleties behind the words! Do you know any online subscriptions that would offer streaming Japanese video content in the Japanese language? I want to fully immerse myself! This is so exciting! I’ve just started my Japanese learning journey and already my life is so enriched! I’ve already recognized a few words in the anime series and learned a couple thanks to Midori! Currently, I’m I’ve just downloaded Anki and am reading the long manual whilst still practicing reading and writing Hiragana which I plan to strongly master before moving on too far. Have you heard of the app Human Japanese? It is on iOS and there is one for total beginners and one for intermediate students! I would definitely recommend checking it out! It is like a friendly interactive textbook packed with the most important content though I am no expert! It is also very down to earth, humorous, concise, engaging, beautiful, and easy to understand! If you check it out I wrote a review on iTunes on the beginner iPad version of the app by the username of “slyfin”. I would love to hear what you think of this series of app(s)! I’m very impressed with them and think that it might make worthy content to cover in your blog! Another Japanese app that I have really been enjoying is MindSnacks Japanese! It’s teaching is very limited but you learn new basic vocab in many fun ways by playing games and completing “quests”! Not only am I finding it useful but it is extremely fun, challenging, and easy to pick! There is an assortment of 8 arcade like minigames that you unlock in turn each focusing on a different aspect of the language such as spelling, listening comprehension, and meaning identification all done in a fun way where you are always trying to beat your previous high score and unlock new content and levels! I also found this youtube video inspiring with good ideas! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0yGdNEWdn0 What do you think? And finally, this article has really given me a new perspective on language. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html?pagewanted=all Sorry, for making so many requests! They are actually just potential suggestions and if you don’t take up any or all of them I won’t be offended in the least! You’ve got your life to live and you might be busy or have better things to do with your time. Also, I believe that your amazon links are all affiliate links, right? Any Japanese material that I purchase off Amazon will go through your affiliate links! I want to support you! I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled across your blog at the last minute while being fed up with blogs but I am very very thankful that I did! How opportune! :D Thank you for your content! Thank you so much! :) I feel like I know where to go from here to start learning Japanese! It feels like an adventure! The content your blog has provided me has led directly to this moment. It has led to my full commitment even if it is just a small fraction of the day, to learn and breath Japanese!
Thanks for all this information Katelyn. Will check out everything for sure. Already got Human Japanese suggested a couple of times but just gave it a quick look and didn’t work with it. I don’t have the need for it anymore (luckily) and am just sticking to iknow at the moment.
All amazon.com and cdjapan links on this site are affiliate links which means that I’ll earn a small percentage of everything you buy when using them. Be it a Japanese textbook or a vacuum cleaner. Thanks a lot it really helps to pay for hosting, backup, domain and to contribute to my textbook and manga purchases.
Watching the video right as I’m writing this. Thanks a lot for sharing looks great. I’d suggestion using the iknow coupon https://www.japanesetease.net/learn-tons-new-japanese-words-context-iknow-jp/ and learn Hiragana/Katakana with iknow (I’m not affiliated with their service but really love it).
Hello. Thank you for your wonderful blog. It helped me to find(in your another article) the website where I can order Japanese manga and books. I live in Russia, so the shipping is usually very expensive. But the cdjapan has the perfect price/shipping costs ratio. Can’t wait to get my books. Thank you!
I wanted to ask you for an advice. I’m using first Minna no Nihongo now and was going to order the second volume. But you write that Genki is much better than Minna. If I get the second volume of Genki won’t I have a gap in knowledge? As I understood the first Genki gives much more information than the first Minna. But I don’t have the ability to order both first and second Genki(spent almost all money on cdjapan and going to spend more haha). So, I’m confused what I should do: to continue with Minna or Genki? But I’m afraid to lose some very important knowledge while migrating from first Minna to second Genki.
P.S. I really like to read your blog!
Thanks Alena and thanks a lot again for using my links. Helps to support the site! If you like Minna no nihongo and don’t have any problems with it I would just continue with the second volume of the series. The new version has a CD included as well and if you like the style of the textbooks you’ll definitely be fine with sticking to Minna no nihongo. The only complain I have with the series it that I personally don#t think it works as well for self learners as Genki and I didn’t exactly enjoy the rather stiff tone the books are written in.
I have just written about a great textbook which would definitely come in very handy at your learning stage
Everything important grammar wise in one place. Should cover everything in Genki 1+2.
I can’t say if I like it or not. I haven’t tried anything else(except books from Russian authors.. and they really suck). But the fact I don’t have any problems with it is true. I’ve just grabbed the translation of Minna and here I am. I think I will learn about Genki II a little bit more, read other reviews, look through some book previews. I’m just a little bit confused that it’s mostly in English as I understood. I’m used to this style of Minna when everything is in Japanese.
Yeah, I’ve read it(thank you a lot for this great review) and already added to the basket at Honto website. Thinking about the purchase. I was looking for some grammar dictionary and was thinking about getting this book first https://www.japanesetease.net/review-essential-japanese-expressions/
But you said it’s not really for beginners.. Though I’m not a completely completely beginner. 私は日本語が少し分かります。(￣^￣)ゞ
The book you mentioned is great with tons of example sentences. If you already know at least some Japanese you’ll definitely be fine. I just meant that if you have no clue about the language it’s nothing you should start with.
Genki is completely in English, there are not translations in different languages available like it is the case with Minna. Seriously, it sounds to me like you get along quite good with the textbook – stick with it. Don’t confuse yourself with another textbook. Rather finish Minna no nihongo and then move on to something more intermediate.
Probably it’s not really correct to compare these two books, but which one you would recommend more? The Understanding basic Japanese grammar has deep explanations but lack of grammar structures(though not for beginners). On the other hand, Essential Japanese expressions has a lack of explanations but contains tons of grammar structures. Ugh! Can’t decide which one to pick.
I know. I meant there are a lot of non-Japanese text in Genki book(from what I’ve seen). In Minna everything is in Japanese, so you need to strain your brain to understand what they want from you. I think this is good.
Thank you for this advice. Hope to read your reviews of some books for intermediate learners in the future(or maybe there are some already but I missed them).
Tough choice. I really love both but they’re not really for the same purpose. Just choose what you’re most interested in :)
Thank you sensei for advices. I’ll choose wisely. (￣^￣)ゞ
Hi. I found your site a couple of days ago and would just like to say thank you, it’s really great! I found it while searching for reviews of TextFugu and was all ready to purchase, but your review saved me the money. I haven’t even started studying Japanese yet (waiting till exams finish) but come Monday I plan to get stuck in as I always love having something to work on and anime has sparked my appreciation for the language, and the culture! My favourite thing about your site is how you clearly love and immerse yourself in Japanese culture, rather than just the language, which encourages me to buy Genki on your recommendation. However, I have heard that it teaches you only formal Japanese rather than everyday, conversational Japanese. As I said I haven’t even started my journey yet so have very little idea even which one of these would be best, but people seem to lean towards wanting to learn more conversational Japanese. Do you think Genki fails in this respect?
Thank you again for your hard work!
Hey Becky. I can only recommend Genki. It’s a fantastic and very complete textbook. Especially when coupled with Japanesepod and ikon (I have articles for both on this site) it’s highly effective. You should always learn a language the proper way which means you should learn it formally. After that it#s not very difficult to get into informal speech. Sure there are always tons of slang words and expressions which you’ll have to learn separately but that’s always the case.
Let me know what you decide to do Becky. And if you’re interested in the informal ways of Japanese “Japanese the manga way” is a very dope book to have :)
Thank you so much for the advice! I’ll make sure to get the Genki books then. Exams are finished now so very excited to start learning. Looking forward to your future reviews :)
I like how organized your blog is. I’m also a huge fan of Japanese anime and manga and I’ve to admit that this is what made me so interested in learning the language. I’ve been taking classes with a teacher since December but only two days a week (2 hours/day). My teacher is using the Japanese for Busy People series and I’ve to say it’s a pretty good book. We already finished the first book and now we’re on the second. The first book was quite easy for me but the second one is a bit more difficult what with all the grammar rules and stuff and so little exercises. I’m also using the workbook but again, I don’t think Japanese for Busy People explains the grammar rules as sufficiently as Genki. BTW, I’m reading Genki on my own while using JBP in class. I also have the two books of Minna no Nihongo and I already started the first book two months ago and I found it interesting enough. I actually like both Genki and Minna no Nihongo but I’m currently focusing on the former to get as much grammar points as I can. The only thing is that Genki has a lot of exercises that are designed for a classroom setting but other than that, I find it good. Minna no Nihongo is good as it’s all in kana but you also need the Translation and Grammar Notes which come in English and explains a lot of grammar points and vocabulary.
I think Genki and Japanese for Busy People are good for self-studying but I honestly don’t think I’d have come this far had I not enrolled in a class. I also won’t say that my teacher is excellent but having a teacher does help in pushing you to study more and work harder. While I love Japanese so much, I think I’d have been lazy to be diligent in studying and keeping up with it every single day. Saying all that, I think there’re people who can do it, so it really depends on the person and how motivated he/she is.
I started reading some manga but I can’t get far yet as my vocabulary bank is still small and I need to know more grammar. Japanese Graded Readers are good for beginners as they’re written in simple language and you get to know some new vocabulary which is good.
Wow thanks a lot Noura. I think I really need to check out Japanese for buys people. Heard so much great things about it as well.
Japanese for Busy People is pretty good but it does not give you enough explanations or details about some grammar points. I usually go to Genki or Minna no Nihongo for that. I think Japanese for Busy People is good for self-study. If you are not sure you want to sit through Genki, you can give this series a shot.
Just wanted to post my gratitude here for this guide. I just got back from my first trip to Tokyo a few weeks back and had such a great time I decided I wanted to take a stab at learning the language. I’m 1/4 Japanese myself and my grandmother doesn’t speak great english, so in addition to being able to communicate better on my next visit I have the motivation to have a conversation with her in her native language. This guide has been a great starting point for studying, Picked up the Genki series and a bunch of the apps suggested. Dr Moku has been great and I pretty much have hiragana/katakana down although I’m still working on getting better at the symbols with diacritics and contracted sounds/double consonants. Also getting some benefits out of iKnow and WaniKani. Picked up Kanjibox as well although I think it is a bit advanced for where I’m at now, definitely can see where it will come in handy in the future. Keeping my head in Genki and also working on some anki decks on the long holiday weekend here in the US, excited with the limited progress I’ve made so far. So just wanted to send my thanks and let you know what a great help its been reading this guide. Keep up the good work, it is much appreciated
Thank you very much Michael. Really glad my post helped in finding some great study tools.
Hey thanks for the tips. Just ordered my GENKI I textbook. I was just wondering. You mentioned earlier about the Tofugu ultimate verb packs but I just can’t find them. Can you help me?
Seems like they took ’em down but I would now recommend iknow over it any time. Far more comfortable and the word lists are just ridiulously well selected and executed.
Just check my post if you haven’t already and let me know how things are going with your studies. Sorry for the late reply btw :)
If you compare Wanikani, Anki, and iKnow, which one do you choose?
Probably iKnow. But WaniKani is fantastic for Kanji learning.
Hi, I was wondering how long it would take me to be able read and understand a seinen manga series like Kingdom? I just learnt hiragana in 3 days.
Hi, I just recently read your article and I am about to buy genki 1 and I was wondering if I need to get the dictionary of basic japanese grammar at the same time or would it be better to buy it later?
You should definitely buy it sooner or later. So considering that you should probably get The Dictionary Of Basic Japanese Grammar alongside Genki. It really helps to read another explanation especially when things are so vary and not exactly definite how Japanese grammar sometimes is.
Just buy both at once, money well spent but it’s not a must in the beginning.
You can also join online Japanese course -Yomuzoku where students get complete knowledge of Japanese with easy Japanese examples. It is an online accessible tool where students not feel any pressure while they are learning Japanese because we have shared interesting stories, news and gossips on daily basis with meaning.
Hi, I was wondering, are you referring to the basic subscription for Japanesepod in your review or the premium?
I went with the basic subscription and got myself a one year deal. Was well worth it. Personally didn’t need the extra bells and whistles which come with the premium package but maybe it’s right up your alley. Can vouch for the basic subscription, their podcast really is fantastic.
Thanks. Also when is the best time to start using Wani Kani and Japanesepod? Would it be better to wait until I’ve finished a few lessons in Genki or should I start them both right away?
You can definitely start with both right away when you learned Hiragana & Katakana. You will need both for WaniKani. It’s pretty slow at the beginning (which is not a bad thing) and builds up tension steadily.
Much thanks for this guide!
Btw. Revisited: 29.09.2105 – Time travelling at it’s best. :D
Can we skip genki and use Japanese the manga way instead?
Definitely not. But you could try the Human Japanese Apps. I still think Genki is the best choice for every self-learner and a fantastic textbook.
This is a great list of resources. I have too more which are indispensable.
An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese: http://amzn.to/2pgD4gP
And for reading materials, “Read Real Japanese Fiction” which has nice short stories with really good grammar explanations: http://amzn.to/2oOMTq9
hey man, great resources! I heard about the 625 wordlist from ‘Fluent Forever’, apparently its a great vocabulary starter.
I have one question: would you recommend the japanesepod101 lessons OVER the Genki textbooks? I’m hesitating because I know the textbooks are good, but its super expensive, and I have the feeling like jpod is more complete and updated, or am I wrong here? Would love to hear you opinion about this. Thank you, your blog is awesome!
Hey Dani, the japanesepod101 is great but doesn’t substitute Genki (which really is a great textbook). Just get it from cdjapan where you only pay the original Japanese price. Money well spent, trust me. And thanks for all the kind words. Love that you enjoy the site :)
great, i will trust you on that :) thanks for the reply man. cheers!
Of course, just write in the comments if you have any more questions.
Jakob! I’m just wondering if you would have made any adjustments to your recommendations at the present time. It’s been roughly two years since your last update and I was curious if anything has changed. I’m currently learning Chinese but I would like to learn Japanese for fun (anime, manga and games).
Hey Zetta, I revisited the guide just a couple of days ago but didn’t put a note in just because nothing much changed. Even when I initially wrote the guide four years ago – nothing much has changed.
I still wholeheartedly recommend to use Genki as a textbook (for grammar), Japanesepod101 (for listening and grammar, just started to use it again and it’s really a great tool to learn Japanese with), WaniKani for learning Kanji and The dictionaries of Japanese Grammar as a great research book.
I’m currently using iKnow heavily again and aim to complete the whole core 6k. It’s a great program for learning vocab and was debating to include it in the essential list as well. But because you’re learning tons of words with WaniKani and JPod as well I decided against including it for now. You can’t work on too many ends at the same time. Genki and then WaniKani and JPod101 are more than enough to sink your time in.
Just let me know if you have any more questions and have fun studying Japanese.
Thanks Jakob! From your perspective, am I in over my head trying to learn both Chinese and Japanese? I enjoy Japanese but Chinese is a priority for other reasons and I’m afraid learning both will end up in me knowing neither.
Also, I tried to order from CDJapan but the shipping is insane. Getting two books for a total of $10 will cost me $16-$40 for shipping. Ouch! Do you recommend any other sources?
Shipping costs from Japan can be quite high and of course I don’t know what you wanted to order. I’d always choose the cheapest shipping option though. SAL is really fine. Aren’t the shipping costs at CDjapan just estimates which can be lower after the initial packaging when you get charged the actual amount?
I just recently ordered Genki II and the Answer Key at honto and paid 1.700¥ for shipping.
I would concentrate on learning Chinese for now because if it’s your goal to read manga/watch anime it will be quite a bit of woprk you have to put in until you can start enjoying Japanese the way aim to do. On the other hand – I know nothing about learning Chinese so …
Thanks Jakob. I was just ordering two mangas from the list you recommended as easy reading. Could I ask you how long you have been studying Japanese and how long it took to for you to enjoy Japanese games, manga and anime?
Wow, that’s steep. But again maybe they just messed something up with their estimate and it won’t be the actual shipping costs you will get charged for. Just drop them a mail, they usually respond pretty quickly.
I have been studying on and off for more than 6 years now and there is always so much new stuff to discover. It really depends on your learning schedule and motivation but if you really stick to it, I’d say a good year until you can enjoy simple stuff like Yotsubato. Or better said: Finish Genki I + II and the first 2k of iKnow. But Japanese manga tend to differ greatly in difficulty so there will be a huge step up for something like Great Teacher Onizuka.
This shouldn’t discourage you from starting in the first place though: It’s a great language and a very friendly and helpful community.
I messed up. I was reading the last number as the shipping total and it was actually the items total + shipping.
I really want to learn Japanese. I’m just a bit sad that I have to wait till I learn Chinese first, which could take a while.
thank you for your guide. I decided to follow it and purchased the Genki books on amazon.jp. Currently I testing a few sites and apps to supplement my Genki lessons. Did you try Rocket Japanese? If so, what do you think of it? Compared to Japanesepod101 I like the voice recognition and the well structure of Rocket Japanese. In Japanesepod I miss a practice area (specially writing) or did I miss it? As for now I can’t decide which of the two to choose. I’m also liking the app LingoDeer.
Finishing my post I want to add that you have a very interesting and helpful site!
Hey Igy, I haven‘t tried RocketJapanese but am still using JPod. It‘s just for listening comprehension/grammar repetition and for getting a better „feel“ for the language. I‘m still using it especially since I‘m listening to a lot of podcasts rigtht now while working and whenever I want to throw in some Japanese learning I‘m listening to another season of Jpod101.
I can‘t comment on Rocket Japanese or LingoDeer though.
Another thing which is awesome (and will definitely get its own post and will be included in this guide) id Bunpro. It‘s still in beta and currently free to use. It‘s a SRS sytem which allows you to study grammar points sorted after JLPT levels. I‘m using it for a couple of days now and really like it. The pertect way to revise grammar if you ask me. Still, there is now way around a proper textbook and Genki is definitely the best of the bunch.
Thanks for the guide!
I had previously purchased Genki books and tried to get back into them, but each new chapter there is a two pages of words ‘used in this section’ and the idea of having to memorise two pages worth of words every lesson is daunting and makes me not keen to open the book.
I tried iknow, and while it tests you well, the premium pricetag didn’t seem it though I took the plunge with WK and got lifetime subscription and I like it’s gentle approach to learning through mnuemonics to remember. I trust your word on your guide and trying jpod for 1 month for $1 to see how it is.
when I can speak more, I’ll use ‘memrise’ to connect with someone who can teach me Japanese while I teach them English. At your level, I’d recommend it now.
How are you enjoying Jpod? I used it as a supplement and whenever I feel like it I just go back and purchase a subscription again. I can totally relate that you don’t want to manually input all Genki words in memrise. I bet someone already did that work. Anki has some decent Genki vocabulary lists online. Just search for them.
WaniKani is great for learning Kanji but the vocabulary they teach is mainly selected to make you remember the Kanji you just learnt and not all that useful in the beginning. You will need it at some point though, don’t worry. I personally still think that iKnow is excellent for vocab but the price point really is steep.
How are your studies coming along?
I recently looked through the JLPT5 100 kanji you need to know and started seeing some I have learnt in WK, but noticed many were not. As you say, it is still needed and will help when I eventually go for the test (I hope at the end of the year).
With Jpod, I discovered that despite having done audio lessons from other sources, their absolute beginner series ‘nihongo dojo’ is teaching me many conversational nuances to say things in formal or casual settings. I find it fits well in my day routine with listening to while walking/catch train to and from work, and intend to keep it with WK each day at a minimum.
I just started ‘Japanese with Yuta’ who sends out a new small lesson every few days which has been helpful. Though I think ultimately, the way to learn verbs and nouns is through flashcards, so I have started making my own ones for words I discover that I can not easily remember and revise these each day.
I feel this constant but manageable approach will bear fruit, and it is imperative to form habits of daily study more then to ‘go hard and fast’ and consequently ‘crash and burn.’
I am just starting Japanese language learning and thanks to your site that I just discovered, have bought a bunch of books from cdjapan. I got there through a link on your site so hopefully you’ll be getting some sort of money from them to order more fun books for you to review and revel in. I bought the first of about five different manga that you recommended, the basic grammar dictionary, and two graded readers. Those graded readers are a lot cheaper if you buy them from cdjapan than some other websites I’ve seen. I spent $135 including shipping. *faints*. Shipping was pretty cheap, actually, about nine dollars for the slow one with tracking. I think that is cheaper then some fabric (pretty lightweight) I bought from Canada (about 500 miles away). I wish I had bought the Genki books from cdjapan too but alas, I bought them from Amazon and paid more.
I just signed up for Wanikani and that seems to be pretty great too. After I get over the shock of buying all these books I’m going to give italki.com a try. For those that don’t know it’s where you can find teachers and tutors in your chosen language and learn from them over the internet.
Hey Elle, thanks for your comment and getting in touch. CDJapan really is a good place to shop and really thank you four using on of my links and supporting me. Which mange did you choose btw? :)
I discovered italki a while ago but never got around to trying it out. I don’t have any capacities for learning Japanese at the moment and it will probably stay that way for the next couple of months. Did you try it though? Any nice (hopefully) experiences with it that you can share?
Thank you for your response. Here are the manga I ordered from cdjapan: Dragon Ball [Complete Edition] 1 (Jump Comics), Dragon Ball SD 1 (Jump Comics), Yotsubato! 1 (Dengeki Comics), Chi’s Sweet Home 1 (KCDX), and Shirokuma Cafe Ichigo Aji (Flower Comics Special).
I know manga is really popular but I’ve actually never read any, not even in English and only have seen a little bit of anime. It’s great that it’s there though to help me with my language learning and to inspire so many people to want to learn Japanese. I wanted to learn Japanese because I was considering moving to an area with a high Japanese population. Now I’m not sure I will move but I find the language so interesting that I just want to learn it for that reason.
I also ordered Japanese the Manga Way from Amazon because it seems like it would be useful and a fun way to learn.
You wrote that you don’t have any capacities for learning Japanese at the moment. Are you just taking a break? Are you burned out or just too busy for it now?
I haven’t tried italki yet. So far all I’ve done is check out the teachers and tutors that are available. It seems like it will be a good way to learn how to converse and listen and write. Some of the teachers use Genki as a textbook too. Most of them have lesson plans/homework as well. It might be a few weeks or so for me to summon the courage and money to give italki a shot. I’ll post back here when I do and let you know what I think of it.
Hello there Jakob,
First and foremost I would like to thank you for this great write up!
It has given me much confidence in starting the Japanase language, I have ordered most of the materials mentioned, only the paperbacks/books as I am more of a book person, though I will see to it to get the mentioned apps soon. Short story is that, previously I was utterly lost as where to actually start in Japanese language study (as with learning any new language), and also devastated as I tried my hands on with other materrials on my local bookstore but to no avail.
But with the newly purchased materials mentioned above and the study steps, it has given me the right guidance on how to progress in learning Japanese systematically. I wished I found this write up of yours sooner, but now that I have them, I can progress with the Japanese language with confidence.
Lastly if I may ask of you, do you have any recommendation on learning with Kanji, with a paperback version for self study? As I am not planning on taking up a classroom course just yet. Thank you once more!
Hey there, unfortunately due to some “construction issues” I just discovered your comment. Really glad I could help you out a little. Did you pick up Genki?
For Kanji learning I would still suggest WaniKani which really is the best way to learn Kanji systematically (and some vocab to manifest your new Kanji knowledge). If you still insist on a printed version I’d suggest the Heisig method. It’s called “Remembering the Kanji” and the book I once started with myself. I used it together with Anki (an app, I’ve written a few lines about it above) but you could use handwritten flashcards as well. A bit difficult if you are not used to writing Kanji I must add.
The “Heisig method” is breaking down the Kanji learning process in two steps: First recognizing the character and for you to be able to do so you’ll first learn the individual parts that build a Kanji. Each one comes with a meaning attached. You’ll construct some small stories around these so that you’ll be able to recognize the character and attach a meaning to it.
Try it out for yourself but I’d still suggest that you go the digital route for Kanji learning. For everything else I’m a paper boy as well :)
Just get in touch again if you have some more questions and have fun learning Japanese.
Hello there, thank you very much for replying to my comment, and that is alright haha.
Yes I have picked up Genki, and I am liking it so far, though without a Japanese class and that I am self learning the Japanese language, the moment I reached chapter 3, all the Romaji characters are gone by then, which made me panic and lose morale for a moment there. Although I kind of like it since it forces me to practice on the using the Kana character system and altogether making me better with it.
I have heard a lot about the Heisig method by mr James Heisig. I did a check and try out on the WaniKani moments after I read your reply, and I will get the WaniKani as I actually like it. I will also get the Heisig method to supply me with the Kanji. And it is great to see someone who likes paperback editions, as am I. I just can’t get away with the feel of the book covers and paper pages. :D
Once more thank you, will do!
Yes we can learn elementary japanese in our home by using very effective books which are available in market, but they are costly and not everyone can afford it, so because of this I am here to provide you a japanese learning book in just $5, i.e GENKI with whole workbooks, textbooks, and audio files as well.
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